Stormwater Conference 2024

S.Joyce & A.Rossaak (Morphum Environmental Ltd), E.Lonnberg-Shaw (Enviro Planning), B.Jensen & M.Chapman (Te Miro Water Consultants)


Morphum and Te Miro Water have and are working with the majority of District Councils across the Waikato Region to assist with the renewal of their comprehensive urban stormwater consents for Waikato Regional Council. The consents have been operating for 20 years and much has changed in the regulatory space in that time, most recently, the NPS-FM 2020.

Unlike the existing consents, the renewal consents are required to place a greater emphasis on implementation. The key to successfully managing the effects of urban stormwater going forward is to have a plan for when, what, how and where to put in place mitigation or enhancement opportunities. Historically, the monitoring of these consents has been reactive as opposed to proactive due mainly to a lack of resources, with evidence of compliance presented in an Annual Report. The preparation of these reports often befalls a small number of District compliance officers, who are tasked with collating a great amount of information and evidence to support consent condition compliance across an entire urban area – no small feat. Given the growth and urban sprawl of many of these smaller councils over the last 5-10 years, this compliance task is becoming ever-more arduous.

To simplify this process and add resilience, the project team has worked with the District Councils as well as Waikato Regional Council to develop a suite of GIS tools and processes to analyse and hold all the comprehensive consent data. This innovative way of approaching complex consents (applied across 28 towns and 15+ consents so far) puts the power back into the hands of the compliance officers and provides a visual and easy-to-navigate database for relevant consent and compliance information.

It is also forming the basis of a consistent and aligned approach to stormwater management across the Waikato region, with significant efficiencies found as neighbouring councils align processes and share resources.

In addition, the tools allow Councils to present a cohesive application to Waikato Regional Council with all relevant information kept in one place and navigated through visual aids. The online platforms have significantly reduced the necessity for excessively large reports, replacing them with concise technical documents supported by engaging and interactive StoryMaps.

This also provides an efficient and engaging instrument for effective iwi, stakeholder and community consultation. With the use of multiple layers and other interactive features, GIS allows all parties to provide direct input into the process in a smart and valuable way.

The team is excited to share their learnings from establishing the tool with the wider industry, looking at where the change in approach has been successful such as the development of a centralized data portal allowing stakeholders access to a rich information source. We will also share the lessons learnt, including the potential for over reliance on technology when face-to-face engagement provides invaluable benefits.


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08 May 2024